IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan to Be Conferred Vir Chakra on I-Day
Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who spent nearly 60 hours in Pakistan’s custody, is set to get Vir Chakra on Independence Day. Vir Chakra is the country’s third-highest wartime gallantry medal. Abhinandhan will be awarded Vir Chakra for shooting down a Pakistan F-16 during the February 27 air-skirmish between the Indian Air Force and Pakistan Air Force determination and bravery. This year in February, Abhinandan Varthaman became the face of the military confrontation between India and Pakistan. A day after the February 26 Balakot airstrike, Abhinandan’s MiG-21 was shot down in a dogfight with PAF jets. The 36-year-old IAF pilot had suffered injuries while ejecting from his MiG-21 Bison during the aerial combat between Indian and Pakistani air forces on February 27. The wing commander cleared all medical tests and is expected to fly MiG-21 within a few weeks. Abhinandhan went through a series of physical and mental evaluations since his capture and release. From the Army, Sapper Prakash Jadhav, who sacrificed his life in an encounter with terrorists at Kulgam in November 2018, will be posthumously awarded. Another 14 personnel will be conferred with Shaurya Chakras. According to the list released by the Army, they also got eight Shaurya Chakra and 98 Sena Medal (Gallantry) and four Mention-in-Dispatches. In addition, IAF also got five Yudh Seva Medals and seven Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry), which also includes Mirage fighter pilots, who took part in the Balakot airstrike.